Roots Report: Past the Boob Tube
Okee dokee folks … Lately I have been trying to get out and hear some of my friends play music in bars and restaurants. It’s kind of a new thing for me as I am more used to concert settings <cranky old dude rant> Now that I have done this I have developed a HUGE peeve about the way these establishments present this music. Big screen TVs? TURN THEM OFF! I have noticed that there is now an over-abundance of TVs in bars and restaurants. When did this happen? Are they breeding? It may be fine when there isn’t live music playing but while an actual human is pouring out their soul and making sweet sounds come from their instruments it can be a real distraction. They usually do turn the TV’s volume off, but the visual is still an interference even if you don’t have A.D.D. At one venue there was a HUGE TV right OVER the performers head. Those damn KENO screens with their bouncing balls are annoying as well. It is sensory overload. Are sports and quasi-news so important that you can’t forgo the feed for a couple of hours to enjoy live music or a companion’s company? I think if patrons and performers regularly request TVs are turned off maybe things will change. Hopefully! Oh, and if you are the proprietor of one of these places, PLEASE turn off the TVs. Thank you. </cranky old dude rant> Here are a bunch of TV-free shows. Read on…
“If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice,” and there are lots of choices coming up at the Stadium Theatre in Wooooooooon-sock-et. Terry Lee Goffee performs a Johnny Cash tribute on Saturday, April 15. His press release states “He looks like Johnny! He sounds like Johnny!” To find out for sure check out the show! Vaud & the Villains bring Bourbon Street to Woonsocket with a 19-piece, 1930’s, New Orleans style orchestra and cabaret show on Saturday, April 22. Sabrina Blaze, drag diva, comedian, actor and former Miss Gay RI brings her fiery flare, wit and charm to the Stadium on April 27. The Music of Peter, Paul & Mary as presented by The Daigles captures the essence of the legendary trio performing the timeless hits “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “If I had a Hammer” and more on April 28. The AC/DC tribute band Dirty Deeds and the Rush tribute band Lotus Land get Closer to the Heart on April 29. For more, side by each to: stadiumtheatre.com
April brings another VERY busy and exciting month to the Narrows Center. James McMurtry spins stories with a poet’s pen and a painter’s precision on April 6. Miracle Legion, one of the original college rock bands performs on April 7. Providence’s the ‘Mericans open the show. On April 8 it’s New York-based soul singer Morgan James. April 12 brings the legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter Kinky Friedman. Peter Wolf hops in on April 14 & 15 but you’re out of luck, it’s sold out. Apr 19 is The Jayhawks and the 20th has Grammy winning Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones with opener the amazing Carolyn Wonderland. Neal & the Vipers and Roberto Morbioli slither in on April 21. My band, Forever Young – A Tribute to Neil Young, returns to The Narrows on April 22. The alt-country, Celtic, and folk-infused indie rock of Carbon Leaf reels in on April 27. The Suitcase Junket and Julie Rhodes Band dig in on April 29. The Narrows is a BYOB and food venue and once you’ve visited you’ll be hooked. If you haven’t gotten there yet, isn’t it time? For more, widen over to narrowscenter.org
Since their recent remodeling the Greenwich Odeum has kicked it a up quite a FEW notches and has a very ambitious calendar. On April 22 it’s Almost Queen, on April 23 you’ll find the RI Music Hall of Fame concert. April 27 has Rusted Root. Then there’s Herman’s Hermits (4/28), DeVito and Grodin (4/29), the Graham Parker Duo (5/6), The BoDeans (5/9), Poppy Champlin (5/12), Jim Breuer (5/13), Todd Rundgren (5/14; watch for my interview with Todd!). May 18 it’s The Oak Ridge Boys, then Judy Collins (5/19), and in June, expect The Fabulous T-Birds (6/1), Blue Oyster Cult (6/8), Joan Osborne (6/16), Tommy Emmanuel (6/17), and Cowboy Mouth (6/18). They are adding shows all the time so stalk their website at: greenwichodeum.com
Take a step through the red stage door of the Zeiterion in New Bedford and you will find it transformed into an intimate concert club. Zoe Lewis who is described as a “band in a body,” will fill the Z’s stage with music on Thursday, April 13. Originally from the UK, she now resides in Provincetown. She’s traveled to over 70 countries and toured with the Indigo Girls, Richie Havens, Judy Collins and has even opened for Pat Benetar. She’s recorded nine albums, written two musicals plus a film score and her songs have appeared on Broadway and TV. Also on deck at the Z are: Dave Mason, Amos Lee, George Thorogood, The B-52s, The Cult, Dori Rubbico, and The Magpie Salute. For more, zzzzzzzzzz to: zeiterion.org
Common Fence Music has a double shot of singer-songwriters to wrap up the month of April: John Gorka on April 22 and Lucy Kaplansky on April 29. With a career spanning three decades, renowned singer/songwriter John Gorka is a master of wordplay, skillfully interweaving story, poetry and song. He demonstrates an effortless ability to shift between humor and beauty, wooing audiences with his rich baritone and versatility on piano and guitar. Lucy Kaplansky, who has been an iconic voice of the folk scene since the folk revival of the 80s and 90s, makes her first visit to CFM. Melding folk, country, pop and rock, her highly emotive original songs and classic tunes have brought her success as a solo artist and as a member of Billboard-charting super-groups Red Horse and Cry Cry Cry. With one of the most in-demand voices of the industry, Lucy brings a thoughtfulness, power and charm to every performance. For more, picket over to: commonfencemusic.org
Internationally acclaimed guitarist Pierre Bensusan is recognized as one of the premier musicians of our time. His name became synonymous with contemporary acoustic genius long before the terms New Age, New Acoustic Music or World Music were invented. He returns to Wakefield Music on Sunday, April 23. Strum on over to: wakefieldmusic.com for more.
The “American roots orchestra” Dustbowl Revival blows into the Knickerbocker Music Center in Westerly on Thursday, April 27. They are a band that is a “celebration of the sounds that have kept America moving for more than a century, performed with all the flair of a medicine show and rooted in the sweat and swagger of a juke joint song swap. Over the last few years, the band has steadily gained recognition while playing festivals and venues across North America and Europe, notably with Lake Street Dive, Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For more, knickmusic.com
Finally, here are a few more TV-free shows!
Pump House Music Works (a project of Shady Lea Guitars) brings in Roosevelt Dime and their feel-good grooves of classic Rhythm and Blues with acoustic Americana instrumentation on April 8.
The Courthouse Center for the Arts has Jon Pousette-Dart and Jim Chapdelaine for an intimate duo performance on Friday, April 14 and world-renowned concert pianist Ann Sweeten on April 15. courthousearts.org
The Purple Cat in Chepachet has Dwight & Nicole on Friday, April 14, an intimate acoustic performance by Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist, Martin Barre, and his band on April 21 and the guitar-playing soul man Jesse Dee on the 22. PurpleCatWinery.com
The Americana-Celtic band Low Lily heads to New Bedford for a Music in the Gallery concert at the Wamsutta Club on Friday, April 21. That’s it for now.